the death toll is increasing in China
The death toll in China's coal mines has increased 25% in the past year, and includes serious accidents in the larger state-owned mines, formerly the safest.
In the first eight months of 2003, 2452 coal mine accidents claimed 4150 lives, 70% of these being in small, unlicensed operations. (*)
Three quarters of China's electricity comes from coal, and much coal is also used domestically.
Tchernobyl was often described in the media as an apocalyptic accident, but when one takes a closer look at the real numbers and serious studies, the final toll was in fact less than 42 persons : that's about the number of deaths every 3 or 4 days, just for coal mining in China.
The death toll just for burning coal in China is therefore equivalent to about 2 Tchernobyl accidents per week.
The popular story and green mythology likes to say that nuclear energy is deadly and dangerous.
Even assuming that there would be a Chernobyl-like accident every 30 years (in reality there has been only one such accident in 50 years since the birth of nuclear electricity, and it could easily have been avoided), nuclear energy is still 3000 times safer than the dangerous habit of burning coal.
(*) Source : China Daily 19/9/03.
UNSCEAR, final report